GCPBA Newswire - Ninth Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of NPS and Interveners
San Francisco, July 21, 2009 – The United States Court of Appeals For the Ninth Circuit has ruled in favor of the Grand Canyon National Park in the case of River Runners For Wilderness (RRFW) vs Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) and Superintendent Steven Martin.
RRFW disputed the outcome of the 2006 Colorado River Management Plan (CRMP), charging that the plan had been developed using faulty science and ignored historical mandates which should have eliminated motorized rafting on the river within the Grand Canyon, thus impairing the wilderness character and opportunities within GCNP.
An initial complaint was filed by RRFW against GCNP on March 28, 2006 in US District Court, For the District of Arizona in Phoenix. The case was heard by the Hon. David G. Campbell who found in favor of the defendants, GCNP and Interveners, in support of the park decision, Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association (GCPBA) and Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association (GCROA).
Judge Campbell found the lawsuit without merit and ordered it be "terminated."
Disagreeing with that decision, RRFW appealed Campbell's decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco who heard the case on June 10, 2009.
The case was heard buy a panel of three judges, Proctor Hug, Jr., Betty B. Fletcher and Michael Daly Hawkins, Circuit Judges. Writing in their decision, the Judges stated "This case concerns the National Parks Service's decision to permit the continued use of motorized rafts and support equipment in Grand Canyon National Park. Plaintiffs contend that such motorized activities impair the wilderness character of the Canyon and that the Park Service's decision violates its management policies and various federal statutes. Plaintiffs ask the Court to set aside the decision under the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA").
For reasons explained in this order, Plaintiffs have not satisfied the high threshold required to set aside federal agency actions under the APA." Concerning the argument that the NPS engaged in faulty science during the preparation of the CRMP, took the position that "… Plaintiffs provide no factual basis for this argument. As Defendants note, the bibliography for the FEIS includes more than 500 technical and scientific references. The Court cannot conclude that the Park Service acted arbitrarily and capriciously by failing to consider high quality information or appropriate scientific analyses."
The Circuit Judges found "The district court wrote an extensive and well-reasoned order… We agree with the order and adopt it as the opinion of our court."
The entire court decision can be found at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gcpba/...20Decision.pdf
GCPBA is represented by Lori Potter of Kaplan, Kirsch & Rockwell, LLP, Denver CO. We are thankful for her quality hard work representing the interests of GCPBA and Canyon boaters.
GCPBA Newswire and GCPBA RiverNewsNotes are a service of Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association. Support GCPBA - visit Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association